Before you think of me as some heartless bastard, I've had cancer take my Maternal Grandmother and my Father. No family should have to go through the ravages of such a horrible disease … let alone a child!
Now that I have your attention - let's get to the point. This might be the most important advice to date. It is also going to be brutally direct. If you're a not for profit event organizer, you need to pay careful attention to what follows!
Years ago, I was told the following: "You need to buy a ticket to our event because we help kids with cancer." When I politely declined with a "no thank you." I was made to feel guilty. That’s not cool! Nor a way to approach someone about buying a ticket to your event.
Because if you think that 99% of the people are buying a ticket to your event to "help kids with cancer, raise money for scholarships, (insert something virtuous here)" ... you are grossly mistaken!
People are attending your event to serve their self-interest. Not who or what your event proceeds may benefit. The fact that you help a wonderful cause is the last reason someone buys a ticket to your event. You help no one if your event is not profitable!
"Eugene, you're such a heartless a$$hole! How can you possibly say that?!?!"
The self-interest motivator is not my opinion ... it's what the cold hard data shows. For the last 10 years, clients have received over 10,000 customer survey responses. Most responses were for non-profit events. The 10,000+ event ticket buyers were asked a simple question:
"What is the BIGGEST reason you purchased a ticket to this event?"
Ready for it? Less than 1% responded with anything along the lines of: "To help the kids … support the men and women in uniform … or, help raise money for scholarships." In some survey results, there were single digit (help the kids) responses – out of almost 2,000 responses!!! That massive disconnect between an event organizer and their attendees is a chronic problem. It is why event organizers fail to sell out their events. That disconnect is also the primary reason events die. They focus on the wrong customer buying motivations.
What's worse is that event organizers still insist on creating "help the kids!" advertising and marketing campaigns. All this despite years of their own attendee data. Then, wonder why their event is half empty. Simple answer. It's because you're not appealing to your ticket buyer's self-interest.
If you want to sell out your next event focus your customer’s real reason for buying. Not why you or your Board think they should buy a ticket. After your attendee buys a ticket and shows up to your fantastic event. Then, you can remind them of the all good work that is accomplished (thanks to their support)!
If you've reached this point and are upset by the brutal advice in this email. I strongly recommended you ask your own customers "what was the BIGGEST reason you purchased a ticket to this event?"
Unfortunately, most event organizers don't have the spine to ask the question above. Don't be one of those people! Ask the survey question above and let me know what you find. Their answers will open your eyes to a whole new world, guaranteed!
Want to get more event marketing advice? Check out the articles below:
- Where should you focus to increase event revenue and attendance?
- Do you want 1MM or 20K people worth of event promotion?
- Why People Really Attend Fundraisers
- Why Well Planned Events Fail
- Turn Your Event Into an Experience